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Auroras Encore could bid to emulate Red Rum by attempting to complete a rare National double

Updated: Sunday, 07 Apr 2013 09:36 | Comments

Auroras could encore in Scottish National

Auroras Encore could bid to emulate the legendary Red Rum by attempting to complete a rare National double in the same season.

The shock 66-1 winner of the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree may now head to Ayr for the Coral Scottish Grand National in two weeks' time.

Red Rum won both in 1974 while Earth Summit and Little Polveir have since taken both races but in different years.

Auroras Encore was just touched off by Merigo at Ayr last spring and connections of the Sue Smith-trained gelding are keen to have another go.

Part-owner Jim Beaumont said: "We would like to go for the Scottish National, if Sue says we can."

The trainer's husband Harvey Smith said: "If he comes out of the race and says 'come on now', we'll have a run around Scotland as well."

Auroras Encore had been out of form of late but came right at the best possible time as he swept to a nine-length victory over Cappa Bleu with Teaforthree third and Oscar Time fourth in the hands of Scottish-born rider Ryan Mania.

The winning trainer said: "I knew the ground was right for him and hoped everything else was. He stayed down the middle and had a bit of luck in running. He didn't have a lot of weight and that helped, too."

Mania, who retired for six months a couple of years ago when his prospects had waned, was encouraged back by the Smiths.

He said: "There's no words to describe it, I got a dream ride all the way - I couldn't believe my luck."

Cappa Bleu's trainer Evan Williams has saddled a placed horse for five years running.

He said: "I'm getting closer and if I had to second to anybody to finish second to Sue and Harvey, they are legends in my eyes.

"I'll get there one day.

Another Welsh trainer Rebecca Curtis saddled Teaforthree and she said: "He'll come back here next year all being well and go for the Welsh National again first probably.

"Third in the Grand National at my first attempt is not bad and we'll try again."

Robert Waley-Cohen, owner of Oscar Time, said: "He's now run in two Nationals and has been second and fourth. To run like that after a slightly interrupted preparation reflects greatly on (trainer) Martin Lynch."

Ladbrokes World Hurdle hero Solwhit turned in another superb display in the hands of Paul Carberry to claim the John Smith's Liverpool Hurdle.

The talented but fragile nine-year-old proved his ability to stay three miles when claiming his seventh Grade One prize at the Cheltenham Festival, and was sent off the 9-4 favourite to make it eight on Merseyside.

Always travelling well in the middle of the pack, Charles Byrnes' stable star was still cruising in behind the leaders at the top of the home straight but Carberry was keen to bide his time.

The ultra-confident Carberry was looking round for dangers between the final two flights and Solwhit sealed victory with a spring-heeled leap at the last.

He kicked on up the run-in to score by three lengths from Holywell, with Smad Place back in third.

Carberry said: "He was absolutely brilliant today. He travelled great the whole way and jumped absolutely brilliant.

"I'd say he's nearly twice the horse today he was at Cheltenham."

Byrnes said: "The only problem with going to Punchestown is that the gap is quite small, but the three-mile race is the only option he has and he'll probably go if he's OK.

"He was going to go over fences at one stage, but at his age, I don't think we'll go that way."

Battle Group secured his second course win in the space of just three days with a brilliant performance in the John Smith's Handicap Chase.

Second in this race 12 months ago when trained by David Pipe, the eight-year-old has since joined Kevin Bishop and landed some hefty bets when running away with Thursday's Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle, a race he also won in 2011.

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